With the start of the New Year upon us, some people may decide that now is the time to make a fresh start and to end their marriage. Divorce is something that takes a lot of thought and it can be a long process to get to the point where you feel able to start. This guide should help you understand what happens and when, so you can approach your divorce with some knowledge behind you.
There are two parties in a divorce. One is the petitioner and the other is the respondent. The petitioner is the one who files the divorce petition. In order to file a divorce petition you need to have been married for at least a year and you must provide the grounds for your divorce in the petition.
There are five grounds for divorce and these are:
3. Unreasonable behaviour;
4. Separation for two years; or
5. Separation for five years (no consent given for the divorce from either you or your spouse).
Once the petition has been filed and the fee has been paid, the respondent will be sent all of the information, including an Acknowledgement of Service (AOS).
At this point there are a number of options to consider. You can file the acknowledgement of service and when you file this you can agree with the divorce, disagree with the divorce or start your own divorce. This is known as a cross petition.
Where you fail to do anything with the acknowledgement of service, these documents will be served in another way.
If as a respondent you agree and file the acknowledgement of service, the petitioner can then apply for the Decree Nisi. This is a legal document issued by a court to say that there is no reason you cannot get divorced.
Once the Decree Nisi has been applied for, the court will grant it and six weeks after that date, a Decree Absolute can be obtained by the petitioner and once this has been issued, the divorce is complete.
Whilst this gives an outline of the legal process of divorce, there are still two people involved in this process, often with emotional baggage and upset and perhaps even children. Seeking advice from a solicitor does not mean that your divorce has to be a battle, it just means that you want to make sure you are protected.
This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.
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